About St Elizabeth of Portugal Image

Saint Elizabeth (Isabel) of Portugal, also known as Elizabeth of Aragon, was a Spanish princess who became Queen of Portugal. She endured adulterous treatment by her husband the king and mediated disputes between him and their son.

Read the full St Elizabeth of Portugal novena on the novena page. You can also learn more about novenas here.

Who Was Saint Elizabeth of Portugal?

Elizabeth was born on July 4, 1271, in Zaragoza, Aragon (modern-day Spain). She was the daughter of King Peter III of Aragon and Queen Constance of Sicily.

Named after her great-aunt, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, she was deeply influenced by her piety and charitable works from a young age.

At the age of 12, Elizabeth was married to King Denis of Portugal, thus becoming Queen of Portugal. Despite her young age, she quickly adapted to her role, demonstrating remarkable maturity and dedication.

Her marriage to King Denis was not always easy due to his infidelities and political challenges, but Elizabeth remained steadfast in her duties and her faith.

Elizabeth was known for her profound devotion to God and her extensive charitable activities. She attended daily Mass, prayed regularly, and was known for her acts of kindness and generosity.

She founded orphanages, hospitals, and shelters for the poor, demonstrating her commitment to helping those in need. Her palace was often open to the less fortunate, reflecting her deep sense of charity and service.

One of the most famous stories associated with St. Elizabeth is the Miracle of the Roses.

She was once secretly taking bread to the poor when her husband, suspicious of her actions, confronted her. When she opened her cloak, the bread had miraculously turned into roses, thereby protecting her from his anger.

This miracle is often depicted in art

Elizabeth played a significant role as a peacemaker during her lifetime. She mediated conflicts between her husband and their son, Prince Alfonso, who later became King Alfonso IV of Portugal. Her efforts to reconcile them were successful, showcasing her diplomatic skills and her dedication to peace.

After the death of her husband in 1325, Elizabeth retired to a convent of Poor Clares at Coimbra, where she lived a life of austerity and continued her charitable works.

Despite her desire for a quiet life, she was once again called to mediate a conflict, this time between her son King Alfonso IV and her grandson King Alfonso XI of Castile. She traveled to Estremoz to intervene but fell ill.

Saint Elizabeth of Portugal died on July 4, 1336, the same day as her birthday, in Estremoz, Portugal. She was buried in the monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha in Coimbra.

Elizabeth was canonized by Pope Urban VIII on May 25, 1625.